(Photo: USA Hockey)

This past week USA Hockey announced that members of the U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team sent 300 complete sets of OneGoal starter equipment to youth hockey associations of their choice. Those associations, in many cases, were the programs that helped shape and inspire their own hockey dreams.

Each of the American players was supplied with 12 sets of equipment to donate. The sets include shin pads, shoulder pads, elbow pads, pants, gloves, a helmet with a cage, and a bag.

As of this announcement more than 40,000 OneGoal starter equipment sets have been donated to arenas and youth hockey associations nationwide to assist families in getting started in hockey without having the barrier of purchasing equipment. Total Hockey is a key partner with USA Hockey in the OneGoal equipment initiative.

“The Olympic dream began in many of these local hockey associations for our athletes and they never forget it,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey.

Three-time U.S. Olympian Julie Chu donated to her childhood rink in Connecticut.

“It’s truly my home rink, where I grew up and developed a love for the game,” she said. “I’m grateful for the time I spent playing there, and I love that I can give back to a place that has meant so much to me.”

The love of playing hockey is discovered in childhood. With the cost of equipment in addition to skates and team fees, it is often out of reach for some children who could become the next Olympian if just given the opportunity. The OneGoal program helps offer that opportunity.

“With the OneGoal program, [the women’s team] have an opportunity to help inspire a new generation of kids, while also saluting the people who helped them chase their Olympic dream,” explained Ogrean.

First-time Olympian, Anne Schleper, from Minnesota, has chosen an urban youth hockey association for which she volunteered.

“Every time I had the opportunity to volunteer there, I was immediately filled with laughter and joy,” Schleper said. “Hockey gave me a way and a voice; all these kids need is an opportunity for the same.”

Hockey gave me a way and a voice.

The list of locations receiving equipment goes from the East Coast to the West:

  • Kacey Bellamy – New England Junior Falcons Girls (Enfield, Conn.)
  • Megan Bozek – Chicago Blackhawks Youth Hawkey (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Kate Buesser – Back Bay Indians (Wolfeboro, N.H.)
  • Alex Carpenter – New Jersey Colonials (Morristown, N.J.)
  • Lisa Chesson – Tomahawks Special Hockey (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Julie Chu – Wonderland Wizards (Bridgeport, Conn.)
  • Kendall Coyne – Chicago Blackhawks Youth Hockey (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Brenna Decker – Wisconsin Amateur Hockey Association (Manitowoc, Wisc.)
  • Meghan Duggan – Danvers Youth Hockey (Danvers, Mass.)
  • Jincy Dunne – St. Louis Cyclones/St. Louis Lady Blues (St. Louis, Mo.)
  • Lyndsey Fry – Coyotes Amateur Hockey Association/She Wolves (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
  • Amanda Kessel – North Metro Youth Hockey Association (Minneapolis, Minn.)
  • Hillary Knight – Sun Valley Youth Hockey (Sun Valley, Idaho)
  • Jocelyne Lamoureux – Grand Forks Parks District Angels (Grand Forks, N.D.)
  • Monique Lamoureux – Grand Forks Parks District Angels (Grand Forks, N.D.)
  • Gigi Marvin – Warroad Youth Hockey (Warroad, Minn.)
  • Brianne McLaughlin – Elyria Ice Hockey (Elyria, Ohio)
  • Annie Pankowski – Anaheim Lady Ducks (Anaheim, Calif.)
  • Michelle Picard – Taunton Brewins (Taunton, Mass.)
  • Josephine Pucci – Ramapo Saints Youth Hockey (Monsey, N.Y.)
  • Molly Schaus – East Coast Jumbos (Boston, Mass.)
  • Anne Schleper – DinoMights (Minneapolis, Minn.)
  • Kelli Stack – Parma Flyers Hockey Association (Parma, Ohio)
  • Lee Stecklein – Roseville Area Youth Hockey Association (Roseville, Minn.)
  • Jessie Vetter – Madison Patriots (Madison, Wisc.)

A family historian by profession, Rhonda R. McClure has loved hockey since she was a child in New Hampshire. Any opportunity to combine her love of writing, hockey and research is something she looks forward to with much enthusiasm. She's been accused of seeking out shinny games when there are no other hockey events taking place. She is a member of the Society for International Hockey Research. Follow her on Twitter at @HockeyMaven1917.

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